College basketball: Marcel Davis glad to be back on court for Utah State
Published: February 6, 2014 10:12PM
Updated: February 6, 2014 11:15PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah State Aggies guard Marcel Davis (0) splits the defenders as he takes the ball up the middle, in basketball action Utah State vs. The Idaho Vandals, in Logan, Saturday, January 5, 2013.

The bench is a tough place to keep confidence.

Marcel Davis hung onto his the past week as he sat out games against New Mexico and Wyoming. It wasn’t easy, he said, but he got a lot of encouragement.

He spent a lot of time talking to his family. His teammates picked him up. Even his old high school coach, Doug Meacham, gave him a call. They all had the same message: Work on your game. Stay positive. We believe in you.

“I just have a great support system,” Davis said. “It was a great feeling to finally get in a game. And it was great for our team to finally pick up the win.”

The sophomore point guard hasn’t had the season he hoped for so far. His 3.9 points per game and 3.2 assists per game were down numbers from last season when he was pulled from the rotation first in favor of Viko Noma’aea, then behind Preston Medlin playing at point guard.

Coach Stew Morrill hinted Davis could see time on Tuesday, saying that the team was going to use their point guards after a blowout loss to Wyoming, and he was back on the court within a few minutes.

It was a modest line, but a good return: He was 2-for-2 from the field — Davis’ shot has been inconsistent this year — and dished out a few assists. Morrill acknowledged Davis had made some nice plays, and his teammates also were happy for him to get back on the floor.

“It was great,” guard Spencer Butterfield said after the game. “He’s been working his butt off every day in practice since he’s been out of the rotation a little bit. He’s earned his way back in the rotation, and you can see that tonight he was ready to play.”

Lockdown on Marks

The thought of what Derrick Marks did to the Aggies last time they played Boise State should be enough to keep them up at night.

The Broncos’ star guard had a verifiable Jordan moment, scoring 16 second-half points including a critical block and the go-ahead basket with 23.6 seconds left. Utah State remembers how he drove into the lane again and again for layups or stopped just short for easy jumpers.

But the Aggies hope this game goes a different way. For one thing, they have a little swagger with their first win in five games. In that game, the Wolfpack had leading scorer Deonte Burton finish with 23 points, but not efficiently: He was only 1-for-5 from long range and had three turnovers. When he did get to the line, he made only 4 of 7 attempts.

Utah State wants to build on that defensive effort by containing Marks utilizing help defense that wasn’t all there last time out. The team’s forwards will have to work on preventing him from driving into the paint.

“He’s a really good driver, so we’ve got to try to make him a jump shooter,” Medlin said. “Whoever is guarding him is going to need help behind him.”

Boise State at USU

O Dee Glen Smith Spectrum

Tipoff • Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV • CBS Sports Network